** FT News **

* Demand for Alibaba’s bonds hits $55bn | Chinese ecommerce group raises $8bn from maiden debt sale

* Chinese SUV sparks JLR claims of copycat | Landwind’s X7 bears a striking resemblance to Jaguar Land Rover’s wildly successful Evoque Read more

By Gavin Bowring, Asean Confidential

By most accounts, Kyrgyzstan’s Dordoi Bazaar, which lies on the outskirts of the capital Bishkek and just 10km from the border with Kazakhstan, is one of Asia’s largest wholesale and retail markets, directly employing at least 50,000 people, and contributing significantly to Kyrgyzstan’s thriving garment industry, which accounts for an additional 150,000 jobs in a country of 5.8m.

A bewildering labyrinth of stalls and warehouses made from tens of thousands of stacked shipping containers, the market serves primarily as a re-export hub for a wide range of cheap Chinese consumer goods, textiles, and machinery (accounting for roughly 70-80 per cent of sales) to the major neighbouring markets of Kazakhstan, Russia, and Uzbekistan. Read more

All change: After a leadership conflict that sent shares tanking, Mexican bank Banorte, the country’s fourth biggest by loans, has a new chairman and CEO.

Replacing Guillermo Ortiz, a former finance minister and central bank governor, as chairman is Carlos Hank González, grandson of the former controlling shareholder “Don Roberto”. Mr Hank’s ascent was in the works for months and triggered the change of command, while also boosting the family dynasty’s influence over the lender in which it is the largest shareholder. Read more

The plot thickens over the choice of Brazil’s next finance minister.

On Thursday, business daily Valor Econômico reported that President Dilma Rousseff had invited Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi, head of the non-government bank Bradesco, to replace Guido Mantega next year. According to the newspaper, Rousseff met with Lázaro Brandão, president of Bradesco’s board, on Tuesday this week to discuss the matter. With Brandão on side, it would make it easier for Trabuco to accept the position and then return to the bank in the future, the daily said. Read more

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Beyondbrics recently warned that spiralling interest payments on hard currency bonds might yet cause EM corporates a big headache. The pain may be drawing closer: the recent slide of Asian currencies against the dollar looks even worse when you strip out the renminbi, which is holding its own, and the Japanese yen.

There could be a serious knock-on effect on domestic banks if firms are forced to loot cash deposits to meet debt repayments. Read more

South Africa’s new central bank governor took centre stage on Thursday, but the story was a familiar tale of caution and bleak growth for Africa’s most developed nation.

After heading his first monetary policy committee meeting, Lesetja Kganyago said the decision was taken to keep the bank’s repo rate on hold at 5.75 per cent.

Kganyago took up his post earlier this month, replacing Gill Marcus, who announced in September that she would not be seeking a second five year term. But little changed in the language and detailed delivery of the last MPC statement of the year. Read more

** FT News **

* US blasts banks’ commodities operations | Senators say Goldman, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan exposed to catastrophic financial risks

* Eurozone recovery slows to 16-month low | Purchasing managers’ index suggests activity will remain weak Read more

By Xiao Qi, China Confidential

China’s shadow finance sector has become a global concern. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank have both warned about the risks associated with the rapid build-up of assets within such an opaque sector, while central bankers now regularly reference Chinese shadow finance as a key potential risk to global economic stability.

But while concern over the lurking horrors in China’s financial shadows remains justified, regulatory actions mean that the systemic risks that they pose are finally starting to ebb. This is happening in spite of the fact that the overall scale of the shadow system is continuing to expand. Read more

A fascinating note has arrived in our inbox from Steven Holden of Copley Fund Research, which tracks the investments of 100 big global EM equity funds with about $285bn of assets under management.

Readers may remember a recent piece based on his monthly report in October, showing that big fund managers were predominantly underweight in China compared with the MSCI Emerging Markets index, and overweight in India. An analysis of data from his November report shows that, on average, managers are in line with the MSCI regarding Russia – but that, individually, they diverge greatly from the index, in ways that suggest contrasting views on the crisis in Ukraine and how to play it as an investor. Read more

** FT News **

* Batista trial a landmark for Brazil | Former billionaire accused of using Twitter to encourage share buying in bankrupt OGX

* China and Russia to build military ties | Countries say they will strengthen military ties to counter US influence in Asia-Pacific region Read more

An article in today’s FT quotes some new research in which economists at the IMF and the World Bank warn that – in the parlance of our headline writers – the world may have reached ‘Peak Trade’.

So what are they talking about? Read more

Ghana has promised to bring its fiscal deficit sharply down next year with a combination of higher taxes and lower spending, in what the market took as an effort to secure up to $1bn in soft loans from the International Monetary Fund.

Seth Terkper, finance minister (pictured), on Wednesday pledged to reduce the fiscal deficit to 6.5 per cent next year, down from a better-than-expected 9.4 per cent in 2014. “[The] government is committed to addressing the short-term vulnerabilities that the economy faces,” Terkper told lawmakers presenting next year’s budgetRead more


Last week was a bad week for us sceptics of global governance, or so it seemed. The US and China struck a deal on reducing carbon emissions that some fairly serious people found not to be meaningless. (Others demurred.) The same two countries also agreed to update the Information Technology Agreement, a plurilateral trade deal that has not been reformulated since a decade before the release of the iPhone. Finally, the US and India made an apparent breakthrough in resolving a spat over food subsidies that had brought already desultory progress in the World Trade Organization to a halt.

But before the multilateral bunting is strung across the streets of Geneva in recognition of the US-India achievement, some caution is in order. For one, the “breakthrough” is a minor clarification over what a particular paragraph in an agreement means. Second, if the deal is used to lever open past WTO agreements on farm subsidies, it will turn out to be a very poor trade-off indeed. Read more

By Alastair Campbell and W. John Hoffmann, Exceptional Resources Group

“There is no difference between reform and anti-corruption: both must be implemented within the framework of law”.

So said Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and with the end of a high level Communist Party meeting last month, the significance of Xi’s “Rule of Law” campaign has become crystal clear. It is a key tool in his attempt to restructure the framework of Party political power and decision-making via the four new Party central leading groups which he chairs. Read more

** FT News **

* Shell wins $3bn India tax court case | Ruling follows string of battles between multinational companies and revenue authorities

* Five killed in Jerusalem synagogue attack | Netanyahu vows Israel will respond with a ‘heavy hand’ to action praised by Hamas Read more